OK, baby boomers, what song is that lyric (the title of this article) taken from? As old as that song is, it’s sad to say that it’s as relevant today as it was then! I grew up in a time that heard the echoes of “Peace and love man” while the Viet Nam war raged on and demonstrations on campus’s across the nation was viewed on television almost every night. Have we come a long way from those times? Well um, we’re still in war only in a different country and I don’t hear too many songs preaching about peace and love. Now it’s more about beat them up, shoot them down and F--- you if you don’t like it. You think maybe this is kind of an angry society we live in? One thing I know for sure, it is definitely a more violent society than ever before.
I was watching a show yesterday about a convicted serial killer who is serving a life sentence for his heinous crimes. It made mention of how he liked to torture and kill animals when he was younger. Having done a study about these predators, I remember reading about the torture and killing of animals by many of these killers.
Each week, we see pictures sent across many of our German Shepherd Dog lists showing how some of these animals have been mistreated and abused by man. The pictures that are sent are so awful that sometimes I can’t even look at them. When I wrote an article a few months back titled “Predators and Prey” I said that there was something so wrong with seeing an animal like the German Shepherd in a compromising situation where his life is one of pain and abuse. We look at our own dogs whose eyes are filled with life and hope for each day. Then when I look at these pictures that come across my computer screen of dogs whose eyes are filled with fear or ones who have just about given up on life, well there is just something so wrong with this.
Women who have suffered domestic violence in their homes have reported that they fear for their animal’s lives and some have remained longer in their homes because of this fear. Over 50% report that abuse has been suffered by their pets. At some veterinary schools they have added abuse recognition training to their curricula and this has been a subject for some seminars and training classes. Veterinarians are now learning the warning signs of animal abuse and how to distinguish injuries due to abuse from other injuries.
Children growing up in homes that see animal abuse many times grow up to be the abuser of animals and humans. Many studies have been done on this subject. Young children who grow up in an environment of abuse may become desensitized, and come to see violence as the norm. They learn that in order to have power or control they can abuse a creature that is weaker than them. Children who see emotional or physical abuse between their parents may "act out" their emotions, often through cruelty to animals.
It has been studied that people who abused pets when they were children are far more likely to commit murder or other violent crimes when they become adults. In fact, one of the most reliable predictors of adult violence is committing animal abuse as a child.
Whenever I sold my puppies into homes that had children, I always watched how the children interacted with the puppies. Were they gentle and loving to the puppies or were they rough and mean spirited? Also just as important as to watching the children’s interactions with the pups were watching how the adults handled and played with them as well. Obviously you can’t tell everything in one meeting, but if I felt uncomfortable about the situation, then they weren’t leaving with one of my puppies.
Although in our country, most people view dogs as a beloved pet of the family and wouldn’t think of harming their dog. In other countries they are not necessarily viewed in the same way. But even in a domesticated society such as ours, violence has become more and more a way of life for some. Look at the illegal practice of dog fighting for profit. Then there are those who enjoy just going to watch the horrific spectacle. What does this say about this type of person’s personality? I remember many years ago seeing where a German Shepherd was used to fight against a Pit Bull. Although a Shepherd is a strong and threatening fighter, he is no match for the jaws of a Pit Bull. If someone finds enjoyment in watching two animals tear one another apart, there is something very wrong with this.
Then you read about those people who buy the meanest dogs that money can buy. Why? What goes through their minds when they do something like this? This type of dog in the wrong hands is a very lethal weapon. How many times do you see while driving down the street in a city some people who are walking down the street with very mean looking dogs with stud collars wrapped around their necks? If I see one of these dogs walking in my direction, I walk across the street rather than chance walking by these dogs.
None of this is the dog’s fault. He doesn’t have the same capacity as the human does when it comes to thinking and calculating his every move. It’s the mind of a sick society who takes pleasure in torturing and killing those who may be unfortunate enough to come across his path.
I believe that dogs are here for our enjoyment and the wonderful companionship that they give to us. They are not here to do our dirty deeds for us. We dog lovers and breeders need to educate the public better than we do. I believe that the public is really ignorant to some of the things that some people are doing. I believe that they don’t know enough about what becomes of a shelter dog when they dumped it there. They don’t know the stories about the abused dog that was picked up along the side of the highway. They really don’t know what goes on with those dogs that are used for dog fighting. They don’t know the conditions that these dogs are in. They don’t know the suffering that they endure. And they don’t know about those who never make it out!
What can be done? Animal cruelty needs to be taken seriously. I don’t want to see another picture of a German Shepherd who has suffered at the hands of his tormentor. If you suspect or witness an animal being abused, report it to your local humane organization, veterinarian, or call your local police. Encourage legislation. Learn more about the animal abuse laws in your state and advocate for appropriate legislation. We need to educate our children. Teach and encourage children to show kindness towards animals. We can urge our schools to integrate humane education into their curricula. Sometimes your local shelter may have outreach programs, education materials, camps, etc. We can work within our own communities to increase awareness of the link between animal cruelty and human violence by being an advocate against cruelty to animals. Give financial support by supporting our animal rescue organization or shelter with donations of money, food, or supplies.
Will violence in our society against animals ever go away? Probably not in my or your life time. If we live in a society that promotes violence against one another (just listen to those song lyrics……if you can understand them) you tell me how our children and young adults can walk around with a “don’t worry, be happy” type of smile pasted on their face? Can we expect these types of people to be kind to our animals when they don’t even have a clue how to be kind to one another?
Man has made the kind of world that we live in. The animals are just here trying to survive the best way that they can. It doesn’t take the whole world to be at war with one another. It just takes one man who is at war within himself to wreck havoc on all those who are unfortunate enough to be near him. Pity the dog in this household. No dog should have to dread each day that he wakes up.
My rating: animal cruelty: (1), the need for educating the public: (4), trying to sell our pups into the best homes possible: (4)